Carroll's 37 Kills Lift No. 3 Pepperdine Over No. 2 UC Irvine
MALIBU, Calif. - Senior opposite Paul Carroll matched his career high with 37 kills and the No. 3 Pepperdine men's volleyball team knocked off No. 2 UC Irvine in four games on Friday night, allowing the Waves to take over first place in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
The Waves (9-1 overall, 8-1 MPSF) moved one-half game ahead of the Anteaters (12-3, 8-2) with the 27-30, 30-27, 39-37, 30-26 victory.
Carroll (Forster, Australia) tied his own school record for kills in a match during the rally-scoring era. The 37 kills are also the most by any player in the nation this year. He added a career-high 16 digs and hit .462 (37-7-65) for the match.
"I thought this was a really good early-season match, especially when you can win it," Pepperdine Coach Marv Dunphy said. "We just made some big plays, especially in game three when we fought off so many game points. It's good to win the close games. Paul certainly carried a big load for us."
Junior middle blocker Rodnei Santos (Sao Paulo, Brazil/BYU) notched 12 kills, hit .500 (12-2-20) and had a career-high 13 block assists to lead an impressive effort at the net by the Waves. Pepperdine outblocked UCI, 21.0 to 7.5. Senior outside hitter Matt McKee (Aurora, Ill./Aurora West HS) tied his career high with eight block assists.
Sophomore setter Kasey Crider (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay HS) had 61 assists and 13 digs and helped the Waves to outhit the Anteaters, .296 to .217.
Both teams had a terrible time hitting in the first game, with both squads ending with negative percentages. Pepperdine had 10 kills and 13 hitting errors (-.073), while UCI had 12 kills and 13 hitting errors (-.021). Both sides' blocking played a part, with the Waves notching eight and Anteaters getting four. The Waves took a 6-0 lead, but UCI eventually tied the match at 15-15, and as part of a 7-0 run the Anteaters went ahead 20-15. The Waves committed four unforced attack errors and UCI had two blocks during the run. Pepperdine closed to within two points several times but never caught up.
Hitting percentages were back to normal in the second game, and the Waves pulled out the win despite being outhit .357 to .343. There were five lead changes and 14 ties, with the last one coming at 22-22. After a UCI service error, Carroll had two straight kills and Pepperdine went on to tie the match at one game apiece.
The Waves fought off eight game points in the marathon third game. They were down 37-36 , but Carroll tied it with a kill, and after a UCI attack error, sophomore outside hitter Cory Riecks (Auburn, Calif./Placer HS) finally ended the game with a kill. Carroll had a remarkable 16 kills in game three alone. There were 22 ties and nine lead changes in the third game.
Game four also went back and forth for a while, with another five lead changes and 16 ties. Tied 18-18, the Waves took the lead for good when Santos and Riecks combined on a block, and Santos followed with a kill. The Anteaters got back to within one point at 25-24, but Pepperdine scored the next three points on a service error, a kill by McKee and and a block by Santos and senior middle blocker Mark Hulse (Evanston, Ill./Evanston Township HS/Rutgers-Newark). Santos later ended the match with a kill.
UCI was led by Jon Steller's 32 kills.
The Waves continue their four-match homestand next week with home matches against Cal State Northridge (Wednesday, Feb. 25) and UC Santa Barbara (Saturday, Feb. 28). Both matches are at 7 p.m. Subscribers to "Wave Casts" can watch the match live at www.pepperdinesports.com.
Article courtesy of Pepperdine athletics.